CTAG, the Citizen Transit Advisory Group, is a mandated committee as part of the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) inter-local agreement which governs transit planning and decisions for the metro area. The body is the official mechanism for citizen input into transit related issues as part of the MTC inter-local agreement. Davidson has been without an official representative on this body for a couple of months now since the resignation of the former appointee due to a move out of the area. The deadline for applications was January 13th with multiple candidates applying, but to date nobody has been selected to fill the position.
Today was the CTAG monthly meeting, so I thought I'd go check it out to see what representation Town residents weren't getting. The meeting started bright and early at 730AM in the basement of the CharMeck government center downtown.
Here are a few observations from the meeting...
1. The appointees from the various towns asked several hard questions. That was good to see.
2. There is definitely a concern in the community regarding the fare increase and a perception that it's being done to support train building. The numbers presented backed up that perception though I doubt that was the intent.
3. There is an ongoing concern about people riding the LYNX service for free. CATS officials deflected this by saying they do an annual fare enforcement exercise and only see 1.9-2.4% of people without tickets which is one of the lowest in the industry. (They did not however address any non paying riders due to malfunctioning fare collection equipment - a problem seen regularly on the buses I ride.)
4. They are anxiously awaiting a pro-transit person to be appointed from Davidson.
Co-Chair Mary Barker asked me if I'd be interested in the position after attending a meeting, and I said I would. However, when I told her I'd been a "bit of a critic" of some of the train plans, she told me clearly that they only want people who are pro-mass transit. I guess being pro-bus doesn't qualify.